SIERRA VISTA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Grant money from the Tucson Medical Center Foundation is helping the Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services continue to offer free car safety seats, and instruction on how to use them, as well as free bicycle helmets for children.
Since 2008, the foundation, a part of the Children's Miracle Network, has provided grant money to support programs like this one. Recently the foundation provided $26,000 to the Sierra Vista Fire and Medical Services to keep it going for another year.
Nearly 1,000 child car seats have been provided and more than 1,300 car seat safety checks have been performed since 2008 by SVF&MS.
The car seat safety checks include a hands-on class that takes about 45 minutes to complete. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, proper use of these seats is shown to save lives but three out of four child car safety seats are not used properly.
"Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for young children across the country and we want to ensure families in our community know their kids are protected in case of a collision," says Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services Firefighter and Paramedic Michael Quarto, the department's coordinator of the child seat safety program.
Child car seat safety checks must be scheduled in advance to ensure a certified technician is available and checks are required to receive a free car safety seat. To schedule an appointment, fill out the online form (available at www.SierraVistaAz.gov by searching for "Car Seat Safety Check") or call Fire Station 3 at (520) 417-4400.
Free bicycle helmets are available for anyone under the age of 18. To date, Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services has given out more than 2,000 bicycle helmets. They can be requested at any fire station or by calling (520) 417-4400.